Not yet Uhuru

HARARE - For many people around the world, a day like today — variously known as Independence Day, Freedom Day or National Day in different countries — is a very special and joyous occasion indeed.

Be it in South Africa, the United States of America, or China for that matter, the day is not just marked by empty rhetoric, symbolic pomp and ceremony, and a coercive brand of nationalism, it is fully and willingly embraced by the majority of citizens — and celebrated with much gusto and meaning.

So, why is it that only a few years into our independence our National Day in Zimbabwe very quickly became a chore, a non-event that many feel pressured to mark?

To answer this question one has to first understand the meaning of independence. Indeed, what was it that Zimbabweans shed blood for? What did they expect at the end of that arduous and bloody struggle? And has Zimbabwe lived up to the expectations of its independence?

The causes for countries to fight for independence are many, including political and, very importantly, economic disillusionment by the majority.

Thirty-three years after British rule, it is very debatable whether Zimbabweans have attained either political or economic freedom. Certainly, no one can claim with any measure of authority that the majority of Zimbabweans are either freer or better off today than they were under Ian Smith’s minority government.

While it hurts to admit this shameful reality, it is true.

For the few who live comfy lives and are wont to disagree with us, just step out of your mansions and limos and take a walk in high density suburbs or rural areas to appreciate the dire poverty and utter desperation out there.

It is awful.

Indeed, as was the case before 1980, Zimbabweans are still dying and being maimed for their right to support a political party of their choice.

They still get incarcerated for choosing to differ with those in authority.

And as in Rhodesia, only a tiny fraction of the population are enjoying the democracy dividend — mostly corruptly.

In that regard, it is highly revealing of the state of our “democracy” that the mafia who have led this kleptocracy that has driven our country to its knees over the past 33 years are inexplicably bullish about their prospects of being “re-elected” into office later this year!

So, today is sadly not a happy birthday for the majority in our country — and understandably so.

For freedom means much more than simply meeting for a free annual football jamboree at the National Sports Stadium, or having the mere right to get into a ballot box as Zimbabweans will do for the umpteenth time later this year.

True Uhuru frees people completely — physically, politically, legally, mentally, socially, healthwise, and very crucially, economically.

All of these remain a pipe dream for most of our people — who remain effective servants of their leaders just as was the case during colonialism. - Staff Writer

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